Want to travel back in time? In our weekly “Retro Science” series, we’re digging up visual artifacts that capture fascinating moments from science history, including surprising studies, outdated inventions, and breakthrough achievements. By recapturing science’s impressive feats and most amusing flops, RetroScience will remind us of how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go.
This robot-like apparatus is the Tritonia, a diving suit invented by pioneering British diving engineer, Joseph Salim Peress. One of the first usable atmospheric diving suits, the Tritonia kept divers dry and at atmospheric pressure, even at great depths. To make the suit lighter, Peress casted the Tritonia in magnesium instead of steel. He also allowed divers to move their limbs more freely by adding oil to create smoother joints. The photo above, taken in 1935, features diver Jim Jarrett in the Tritonia preparing for a 312 feet dive in order to explore the Lusitania wreck. Peress would later name the famous JIM suit after this courageous diver in 1969. For more photos of the dive, click here.